During a divorce, it may seem like one's spouse is insane. Indeed, anyone going through a stressful event may exhibit some atypical or unusual behaviors. But what if there is an actual dysfunction?
Although an attorney cannot treat someone with a personality disorder, legal training can still be a useful tool in divorce interactions. For example, unless the spouse’s condition requires hospitalization or intense treatment protocols, it’s unlikely that the pending divorce will be delayed. Since communication will still be required, an attorney’s training in mediation, collaborative divorce and settlement negotiations can all be utilized to keep the process moving forward.
In New York, an additional emotional trigger is presented by state law, which requires a divorce filing to be made on one of several enumerated grounds of fault. Those grounds include legal separation over one year, cruel and inhumane treatment, abandonment, imprisonment, or adultery.
Whereas an emotional interaction might focus on assigning blame, a legal negotiation seeks resolution regarding a particular fact situation and the unique position of a client. Legal negotiations are also often made through the attorneys, rather than the clients. That extra distance can help to keep emotions cool. Communications with the opposing party are often made through written exchanges, providing another layer of emotional insulation.
Our law firm focuses on a broad range of family law issues. In the specific example of divorce, we can provide strong advocacy to help our clients obtain a fair marital property settlement. If children are involved, we can also work to establish a custody and visitation arrangement that serves a child’s best interest and protects the rights of the parent.
Source: NW Laywer, “Disorder in Family Court,” Anthony Zorich, May 2016